Quotations of Wisdom

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Louis Pasteur

Did you ever observe to whom the accidents happen? Chance favors the prepared mind. [Q1020]

Thomas Jefferson

May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. [Q542]

William Hazlitt

Man is the only creature that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they could be. [Q1873]

Murray Gell-Mann

Of course the word chaos is used in rather a vague sense by a lot of writers, but in physics it means a particular phenomenon, namely that in a nonlinear system the outcome is often indefinitely, arbitrarily sensitive to tiny changes in the initial condition. [Q980]

Freeman Dyson

There is no such thing as a unique scientific vision, any more than there is a unique poetic vision. Science is a mosaic of partial and conflicting visions. But there is one common element in these visions. The common element is rebellion against the restrictions imposed by the locally prevailing culture, Western or Eastern as the case may be. It is no more Western than it is Arab or Indian or Japanese or Chinese. Arabs and Indians and Japanese and Chinese had a big share in the development of modern science. And two thousand years earlier, the beginnings of science were as much Babylonian and Egyptian as Greek. One of the central facts about science is that it pays no attention to East and West and North and South and black and yellow and white. It belongs to everybody who is willing to make the effort to learn it. [Q1912]

Harry Truman

Give the people a choice between a Republican and a Republican the people will choose the Republican every time. [Q1710]

Senator Paul Simon

He has the right to form his opinions and the right to express them — and the day the right freely to express our own thoughts is taken from us, that day will be the last of our religious and political freedom. Alton Telegraph, Aug 10, 1836 in response to Elijah's first press thrown into the Mississippi River. [Q1884]

Stephen Leacock

In ancient times they had no statistics so they had to fall back on lies. [Q364]

Benjamin Franklin

Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one. [Q30]

Noël Coward

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. [Q2025]

Kathleen Parker

What happens when you win an argument based on half-truths? In politics, it doesn't matter. Winning is all that matters. In real life, the people lose. [Q1664]

Adlai Stevenson III

Today's politics tends to focus on popularity and the games: who is supporting whom, the polls and the money, personalities over truth, substitutes for Reason. [Q1844]

Carl Sagan

We reach a point where there can be on more special interest or special cases. Nuclear arms threaten every person on the earth. Fundamental changes in society are sometimes labeled impractical or contrary to human nature, as if nuclear war was practical or if there was only one human nature. But fundamental changes can clearly be made, we're surrounded by them. — Cosmos [Q1232]

Adlai Stevenson III

The air waves are in the public domain; but the government increasingly represents the private domain. [Q1859]

René Descartes

I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery. [Q1116]

Richard M Nixon

We do not learn by inference and deduction and the application of mathematics to philosophy, but by direct intercourse and sympathy. [Q309]

Václav Havel

Man is in fact nailed down — like Christ on the Cross — to a grid of paradoxes . . . he balances between the torment of not knowing his mission and the joy of carrying it out, between nothingness and meaningfulness. And like Christ, he is in fact victorious by virtue of his defeats. [Q1764]


Pleasant it is, when over a great sea the winds trouble the waters, to gaze from shore upon another's great tribulation; not because any man's troubles are a delectable joy, but because to perceive you are free of them yourself is pleasant. [Q1561]


In a fearful nation the king is law. [Q1176]

Lenny Bruce

If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses. [Q333]

Scott Nesler

One person's truth is another's slander. [Q551]

Václav Havel

The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in anything, to ignore one another, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility or forgiveness lost their depth and dimension, and for many of us they represented only psychological peculiarities, or they resembled gone-astray greetings from ancient times, a little ridiculous in the era of computers and spaceships. [Q1786]

Thomas Jefferson

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. [Q199]

Edward de Bono

I suspect that the ideas put forward in this book will be received with rage and outrage. Ideas such as these can be expressed only in book form. That is one of the key justifications for the continued existence of books and a justification for reading. But the guardians of culture are language-based. Any book has to pass through the 'literary' gateway. Since much of this book questions the sufficiency of our traditional language-based argument and logic, I do not expect very objective response. So readers will need to come to their own conclusions.

Cybernecticians, mathematicians, and information scientist will have much less trouble with the book than those with a 'literary' or 'legalistic' frame of mind. People in business and those involved in doing things (as distinct from describing things) will also see the need for 'operacy' and for constructive and creative thinking. There are also many who have always felt that 'design' is as important as 'analysis'.

(from the book, I am Right, you are Wrong. page 31). [Q2006]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The genius of democracies is seen not only in the great number of new words introduced but even more in the new ideas they express. [Q960]

Margaret Mead

Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful. [Q951]

Blaise Pascal

Even those who write against fame wish for the fame of having written well, and those who read their works desire the fame of having read them. [Q586]

Benjamin Franklin

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing. [Q1880]

Thomas Jefferson

Power is not alluring to pure minds. [Q200]

Ferdinand de Saussure

Outside speech, the association that is made in the memory between words having something in common creates different groups, series, families, within which very diverse relations obtain but belonging to a single category: these are associative relations. [Q1190]

Buckminster Fuller

The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun. [Q114]

Carl Jung

The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers. [Q258]

Adlai Stevenson

The New Dealers have all left Washington to make way for the car dealers. [Q1651]


Raising children is an uncertain thing; success is reached only after a life of battle and worry. [Q771]

Václav Havel

I have had direct experience of this myself. Often, what the press wrote, or did not write, about a remark I made somewhere proved to be of a far greater consequence than the remark itself. Democratic choice in such cases ceases to be a choice between alternatives people are familiar with, and have personally tried, and becomes a choice between alternatives offered by those who run the media. [Q1798]

Scott Nesler

Can we fathom more than a subatomic point of view? [Q144]


Narcissism is the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others. [Q664]

Thomas Jefferson

The less wealthy people,... by the bill for a general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts in self-government; and all this would be effected without the violation of a single natural right of any one individual citizen. [Q533]

Thomas Jefferson

Never spend your money before you have it. [Q201]

Jacob Burckhardt

Save us from the simplifiers. [Q4]


No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man. [Q918]

Hideki Tōjō

It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so. Consequently, now that the war has been lost, it is presumably necessary that I be judged so that the circumstances of the time can be clarified and the future peace of the world be assured. Therefore, with respect to my trial, it is my intention to speak frankly, according to my recollection, even though when the vanquished stands before the victor, who has over him the power of life and death, he may be apt to toady and flatter. I mean to pay considerable attention to this in my actions, and say to the end that what is true is true and what is false is false. To shade one's words in flattery to the point of untruthfulness would falsify the trial and do incalculable harm to the nation, and great care must be taken to avoid this. [Q1058]

Scott Nesler

Ignorance is the act of ignoring the collateral damage of one's belief and an apathetic attempt to seek the truth. [Q549]

Mohandas Gandhi

Faith... must be enforced by reason... when faith becomes blind it dies. [Q562]

Adlai Stevenson III

The human costs of Social Darwinism are expressed in comparatively low levels of educational achievement and motivation, a widening gap between the haves and have-nots, and a divided people. [Q1865]

Thor Heyerdahl

It is also rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch. [Q1537]

Henry Drummond

Then why did God plaint us with the power to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty of man that raises him above the other creatures of the earth: the power of his brain to reason? — Inherit the Wind [Q105]

Thomas Mann

Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them. [Q1528]

David Lynch

Absurdity is what I like most in life, and there's humor in struggling in ignorance. If you saw a man repeatedly running into a wall until he was a bloody pulp, after a while it would make you laugh because it becomes absurd. [Q708]


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. [Q853]

Margaret Mead

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. [Q1415]

Senator Paul Simon

As the price of a slave went up, so did the slaveholder's desire to retain the system. Opponents of slavery like Lovejoy were perceived as trying to take away "property" growing in value, and this perception intensified the animosity between pro-slavery and anti-slavery people. [Q1886]


Your descendants shall gather your fruits. [Q1593]

Theodore Roosevelt

I am a part of everything that I have read. [Q504]

John Boyd Orr

Some wars have been due to the lust of rulers for power and glory, or to revenge to wipe out the humiliation of a former defeat. [Q1153]

Michel de Montaigne

I do not speak the minds of others except to speak my own mind better. [Q1167]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved. [Q409]

Senator Paul Simon

We gain from listening to others, not that we accept all assertions of truth as equally valid. [Q1702]

George Bancroft

The exact measure of the progress of civilization is the degree in which the intelligence of the common mind has prevailed over wealth and brute force. [Q455]

Thomas Jefferson

The truth is that the want of common education with us is not from our poverty, but from the want of an orderly system. More money is now paid for the education of a part than would be paid for that of the whole if systematically arranged. [Q535]

Noam Chomsky

The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control - "indoctrination," we might say - exercised through the mass media. [Q161]

William Lyon Phelps

The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts, and we grow happier as we grow older. [Q1054]

George Orwell

Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper. [Q1662]

Isaac Newton

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants. [Q368]

Master Po

Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you. — Kung Fu Televison Series 1972 - Episode #6 [Q526]

Brian Greene

The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers. [Q741]

Winston Churchill

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. [Q13]

Galileo Galilei

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. [Q931]

Thor Heyerdahl

Circumstances cause us to act the way we do. We should always bear this in mind before judging the actions of others. I realized this from the start during World War II. [Q1531]

Aloysius P. Martinich

A philosopher once said, 'Half of good philosophy is good grammar.' [Q2088]

Scott Nesler

The task of doing good is subjective, requiring refinement to reach its highest potential. [Q1179]

Winston Churchill

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. [Q89]

Robert Anton Wilson

Animals outline their territories with their excretions, humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper. [Q244]

Mohandas Gandhi

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position. [Q559]

Josh Billings

As scarce as truth is, the supply is always greater than the demand. [Q1854]

Ken Kesey

You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. [Q1507]


Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. [Q769]

Carl Jung

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. [Q252]

George Washington

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. See Non-Interventionist. [Q1995]

Senator Paul Simon

We have two major flaws — and a number of minor ones — in our political process: first, our system of financing campaigns, and second, the scientific pandering through polls that has come to dominate decision-making. [Q1818]

J William Fulbirght

There are many respects in which America, if it can bring itself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to its size and power, can be an intelligent example to the world. [Q2020]

Master Po

Who among us is without flaw? — Kung Fu television series 1972 [Q512]


What each man feared would happen to himself, did not trouble him when he saw that it would ruin another. [Q1592]

Senator Paul Simon

The position of Paul Nyholm and my brother is that the Bible is inspired and an accurate guide on Christ's life and mission and on issues of faith and morals, but does not require that a person accept creation in six days or that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. [Q1690]

Herbert Simon

Technology may create a condition, but the questions are what do we do about ourselves. We better understand ourselves pretty clearly and we better find ways to like ourselves. [Q647]

Edward de Bono

For the first time in history we can now have an idea of how the brain is organized to give rise to mind. We may not know all the details, but we do know enough about the broad system behaviour to re-examine our traditional thinking habits and to be able to develop new ones. We can come to see how the thinking habits of the last Renaissance emphasized some of the worst habits of mind. We can come to see why the thinking and language systems we developed and now esteem so highly are good at logic but poor at perception. We can see how that failure to deal with perception gives rise to inadequacies and of our current thinking. We can see how these habits were responsible for much human misery in the past and why they are not adequate for the constructive steps that are necessary in the future. — Page 4, Chapter: Introduction: The New Renaissance - I Am Right You Are Wrong [Q1990]

Margaret Sanger

Diplomats make it their business to conceal the facts. [Q1667]

Noam Chomsky

Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it. [Q155]

Konrad Lorenz

Evil, by definition, is that which endangers the good, and the good is what we perceive as a value. [Q1431]

Mustafa Kemal

There is no logical explanation for the political disenfranchisement of women. Any hesitation and negative mentality on this subject is nothing more than a fading social phenomenon of the past. ...Women must have the right to vote and to be elected; because democracy dictates that, because there are interests that women must defend, and because there are social duties that women must perform. [Q1927]

Dante Alighieri

The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. [Q1514]

Alan Greenspan

I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms. [Q1069]

Bob Woodward

I think journalism gets measured by the quality of information it presents, not the drama or the pyrotechnics associated with us. [Q619]

Václav Havel

The idea of human rights and freedoms must be an integral part of any meaningful world order. Yet, I think it must be anchored in a different place, and in a different way, than has been the case so far. If it is to be more than just a slogan mocked by half the world, it cannot be expressed in the language of a departing era, and it must not be mere froth floating on the subsiding waters of faith in a purely scientific relationship to the world. [Q1806]

Woodrow Wilson

Liberty does not consist in mere general declarations of the rights of men. It consists in the translation of those declaration into definite actions. The philosophy of conduct is what every wise man should wish to derive from his knowledge of the thoughts and the affairs of the generations that have gone before him. We are not put into this world to sit still and know; we are put into it to act. [Q1837]

Mohandas Gandhi

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. [Q560]


Persevere and preserve yourselves for better circumstances. [Q1587]

George Washington

Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican liberty. — His Farewell Address, 1796 [Q1867]

Master Kan

Weakness prevails over strength. Gentleness conquers. Become the calm and restful breeze that tames the violent sea. [Q520]


Faced with two evils, must not every man choose? [Q138]

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